Permian Flora from the Bletterbach-Butterloch Region

.Findings of fossilised plants in Perm in the southern Alps date back to the 19th century, although individual authors have often complained about their poor state of preservation. In South Tyrol itself, the findings from this period come from the Gröden sandstone in Auer and from the Seiser Alm, however the most famous sites to have been described are Cuecenes (Gröden) and the Bletterbach/Butterloch region. The latter site is especially famous for its extraordinarily well preserved plant fossils, even if most of them are just chaff or well preserved organic residues (cuticulae).    


.Bletterbach conceals some of the most important sites for findings of Permian fossils in the South Tyrolean Dolomites, especially for plant and trace fossils. However, to date, the plant fossils collected have largely taken the form of mineralised phylum remains, small fragments or well preserved organic remains (cuticulae).
New, extraordinarily well preserved findings in Grödner sandstone of plant residues covering a few dm indicate that the flora in this period was very species-rich. While the literature primarily documents evidence of conifers, seed ferns and horsetails, initial investigations also unearthed remains of cycads and ginkgo-like species.

The project is a cooperation between the South Tyrol Nature Museum and the Geoparc Bletterbach.

The project group is made up of several experts from home and abroad.

Rainer Butzmann, Munich, Germany
Dr. Thilo Fischer, Technische Universität München, Freising, Germany
Prof. Dr. Hans Kerp, Universität Münster, Münster, Germany
Dr. Evelyn Kustatscher, Museum of Nature South Tyrol, Bozen/Bolzano, Italy
Dr. Barbara Meller, Geologische Bundesanstalt, Vienna, Austria
Prof. Dr. Johanna H.A. van Konijnenburg – van Cittert, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Utrecht and Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, Netherlands.


PITTAU P., KERP H. & KUSTATSCHER E., 2005. The Bletterbach canyon. – “Let us meet across the P/T boundary” – workshop on Permian and Triassic Palaeobotany and Palynology, Bozen 16.-18.06.2005, Excursion guide, 39 pp.

Conference contributions:

BUTZMANN R., FISCHER T., KERP H., MELLER B., KUSTATSCHER E., VAN KONIJNENBURG-VAN CITTERT J.H.A., 2006. The Permian Macroflora from the Bletterbach-Butterloch area (N-Italy) – 7th European Palaeobotany – Palynology Conference, 6-12.09.06, Prague, abstract book, p. 23.
KUSTATSCHER E., BUTZMANN R., FISCHER T., KERP H., MELLER B., VAN KONIJNENBURG-VAN CITTERT J.H.A., 2007. Le piante fossili permiane del Bletterbach-Butterloch – risulatati preliminari – Giornate della Paleontologia, 6-10.06.2007, Barzio/Pastura, abstract book, p. 38.
FISCHER, T.C., BUTZMANN, R., KERP, H., KUSTATSCHER, E., MELLER, B. & VAN KONIJNENBURG –VAN CITTERT, J.H.A., 2008. A remarkable gymnosperm flora from the Permian of Bletterbach (Dolomites, N-Italy) - 12th International Palynological Congress & 6th International Organisation of Palaeobotany Conference, 30.08.-5.09.2008, Bonn, Terra Nostra, Schriften der GeoUni Alfred-Wegener Stiftung, 2008/2, p. 81.